Retail insights

Black Friday Bliss! Holiday Trimmings to Make Your In-Store Experience Shine

Black Friday

What images come to mind when someone brings up “Black Friday” in conversation? Shiny new gadgets… large signs in store windows indicating massive sales… and of course, people calmly and politely stepping over each other in big-box stores to snag as many items as they can before all merchandise evaporates seconds later.

On a day that, in recent history, has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, you need to go above and beyond to make people want to live out their Black Friday experience in your store. Here are a few quick tips and examples of in-store experiences done right, in order to help you stack the deck in your favor this Black Friday (not to mention the month leading up to Christmas):

1) Create digital experiences that involve your physical store.

Aside from the simple fact that you can do some creative and cool things with digital technologies, brand and retailers are moving more and more in the direction of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, touchscreens, etc. to engage with their audiences.

“Digital,” however, doesn’t simply have to equate to something done exclusive through the medium of a computer or smartphone. Retailers have been incorporating digital elements into their physical locations, and even mashing up their offline experiences into their online ones.

Take Warby Parker in Los Angeles, for example: upon opening its fourth location back in April 2017, the company welcomed customers to its new digs by setting up what it called the “Green Room.” Customers were hooked in by the prospect of an actual Hollywood-style green screen studio at the back of the store, wherein they could film a 15-second film for free and then share the mini-movie on social media. The digital experience added life to what would’ve otherwise been just another sterile store opening and made it something fun and interactive.

Provided the right creative is in place, digital experiences are always a smart way to capture customers’ collective intrigue.

A girl playing with VR headset

2) Hold in-store events and make them shareable.

As we’ve detailed before in our series on holiday insights, in-store events are a great way to bring people together during the holidays and engage with customers on your own turf. (And, for those less digitally inclined, probably a less complicated, more budget-friendly way, too.)

Events don’t have to be elaborate or intricately woven  plans — they can be as as simple as throwing a party on the premises and giving the people something to Instagram, like a customized backdrop on which to take photos or a digital photobooth. The key, though, is to make it  shareable.

The folks at Kate Spade in New York know all about that. In 2015, they partnered with local florists to give a series of in-store lessons on flower arranging. The events went so well that not only was Kate Spade able to harvest a bunch of Instagram content and blog posts, but their social engagement went up as well.

kate spade ny

In-store flower arranging fits perfectly with Kate Spade’s brand. Image via

3) Open a pop-up shop.

Just because we’re talking about “in-store” doesn’t necessarily mean we’re talking about “your brick-and-mortar location.” If the people aren’t coming to you, take your store to them.

Pop-up shops have become a popular way for retailers to expose new people in new areas to their products and develop some imaginative installations in recent years. It’s a risk worth taking for a business on a budget, as it provides an affordable way to generate buzz, gives people a tangible taste of what you offer, and it’s not something you’re bound to forever and ever.

There are too many great examples of creative pop-ups to choose from, so we’ll give you a whole list of them and let your imagination run wild.

While it may be too late to jump on these trends for Black Friday 2017, Christmas is around the corner – maybe there are some fun ways to surprise your December customers. Either way, now you’ve got some “new year, new you” inspiration for 2018 in your back pocket!

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